Mille milles loin d'ici

Walking out of the museum, I was surprised to see the sun was gone. The stars were just starting to come out. I tilted my head back to look at the moon and thought about my friends and family back in New York. They were probably sound asleep right now. I wondered if Carl missed me…

“Emily, you look as though you’re a thousand miles away from here.”

I started and realized Sebastian was staring at me with concern.

“I must have fallen asleep standing there for a second. I’m sorry. Listen, maybe I should just go back to the hotel.”

“If that’s what you would like. May I see you tomorrow?”

I thought about it for a second. There wasn’t any harm, I reasoned, and it was nice to think I had a friend here.

“Sure. I’ll look forward to that. I’m staying at Hotel Regina.”

“I know just the one. Whenever my sister comes up from Marseilles she stays at that hotel.”

Sebastian hailed a cab for me and helped me into the car. He kissed me on both cheeks and said, “I had a great time today, Emily Nichols. Au revoir.”

And then he was gone.

As the cab pulled away, I looked behind me to watch Sebastian walking away. He suddenly turned around and seemed to look right at me. I quickly ducked down in my seat and took a deep breath.

Emily, get a grip. You’re acting like a schoolgirl.

I pressed my hands to my cheeks and willed the warmth to dissipate. Looking up, I noticed the cab driver was staring at me in the rear view mirror, his gray eyebrows knit with concern.

“Est-ce que tout est bien, mademoiselle?”

“Oui, monsieur. Merci.” I smiled at him and he smiled back before turning his attention to the road again.

Back at the hotel, I looked at my watch. It was a quarter till eight here, but I was still on Eastern Standard time and I hadn’t gotten any sleep since I’d arrived. I yawned as I began walking up the stairs to my room on the second floor.

“Miss Nichols?”

I turned around and saw the concierge standing at the foot of the stairs.

“Yes?”

“You received this message,” he said. There was an envelope in his hand.

The End

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